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tioning the value of the Polish Government's published instructions
to their Home Army, since this co-operation was conditional only on
Russia's recognition of the integrity of the Polish territory . . .
(3) Stalin again insisted on the exclusion of the outspoken anti-
Soviet elements from the Polish Government and changes in the
leadership of the Polish forces, i.e., removal of the C.-in-C, General
Sosnkowski, together with the Minister of War and Minister of
Stalin., in his talk with Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, the British Ambassador,
to whom he stressed his views on the contents of Churchill's letter, said :
" The Polish issue might possibly strain the relations between Great
Britain and Russia at a momentous juncture of the war. Russian public
opinion could not reconcile itself to the amount of indulgence shown by
the British towards Polish intransigence."*
The Kremlin's war-lord pointed out that, in the event of there being
no agreement and the Red Army passing the e Curzon Line,' the e other
people,' and not the * present Polish Government,' would be entrusted
with the administration of the c liberated * territories.     These were un-
veiled threats.    Stalin was ruthless in his demands, and in his endeavour
to force the Polish Government to its knees.   He did not wish further
negotiations, although he was ready to parley with the Finns, who had
supported Hitler, with Tanner and Mannerheim, whose artillery had
shelled Leningrad.   In the proposals offered to the Finnish Government,
Moscow had agreed that the final fate of the Petsamo district would be
settled at the peace conference, yet at the same time she was demanding
an immediate transfer of Poland's territory to the U.S.S.R.   Difficult as
this policy was for the Westerner to fathom, it was perfectly understand-
able to the Russians.     In Finland's case, the Soviets did not have the
power in their hands to press the Finns to the wall—this problem had to
be settled by direct parleys but, where Poland was concerned, partners
existed who were deeply interested in the ' straightening ' of the front of
the United Nations.f   Moreover, the Soviets were not particularly in-
terested in the Polish consent, but only in receiving collaboration from
their Home Army.   In February, Churchill communicated the text of
Stalin's letter to the Polish Prime Minister, asking him for an early reply.
Mikolajczyk found that his Government would not be ready to give a
reply to such a matter until the representatives of the political parties in
the Government had consulted their Respective underground leaders in
The Polish Government was not a free agent and, representing a
democratic country, did not possess the right to dispose of any part of
* Observer, March 13, 1944.
t The Economist^ comparing the Soviet terms for Finland and Poknd, wrote
that" the Russian Press, with pride, emphasised that Moscow did not demand from
the defeated enemy unconditional surrender/' while the ultimatum with uncon-
ditional surrender was again presented to their Polish Allies.